Why is Church Planting Such a Big Deal?

Why is Church Planting Such a Big Deal?

By Gary Rohrmayer

For years I have been faced with this question “Why is church planting such a big deal?”

I have answered it in multiple ways over the years but in this article, I offer you four simple reasons you can share with your pastors and lay leaders that will touch their hearts and give them a fresh perspective on the impact of church planting.

1. It is the work of Jesus.

Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it!” (Matthew 16:18). In God’s genius, he has chosen the church to be the primary vehicle for reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus. This is a mystery that baffles the whole spiritual world. Paul writes,

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:8-11).

Through the mystery of the church, the whole spiritual world (angels and demons) sees the brilliance of God’s redemptive plan. The church is a group of people who have been touched by the unsearchable riches of Christ. They have been called into a community of faith regardless of the racial makeup, social background, or sin-scarred lifestyle. They are a group of people who have locked arms together to carry the mysterious message of forgiveness by grace alone through Jesus Christ our Lord. Church planting is the work of Jesus that glorifies God, extends God’s kingdom, and accomplishes God’s mission.

2. Opportunities are Everywhere!

Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful…” (Matthew 9:37). On another occasion, he told his disciples, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). I believe that God is in the saving business. Many of us know John 3:16, but what about John 3:17? Jesus said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). God’s desire for the men, women, and children of all races, backgrounds, and social standing is that they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. His desire is not measured by a simple wish but by the sacrificial commitment of sending his Son, Jesus, into the world. God’s saving desire is also revealed in the Holy Spirit’s work of convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-9).

It is easy to be skeptical these days. Statistically, the church here in North America is declining at an uncomfortable rate. And yet Jesus, in dealing with his own skeptical and even cynical disciples. Disciples who were culturally trained to despise their neighbors, the Samaritans.

He told them to “open their eyes!” For he knew the Father’s love for them. We need to open our eyes today! Because you never know when God will do something spectacular, like using a wayward woman to reach a whole city of despised people who they thought were hopeless. Why is church planting a big deal? Because God is still doing big things beyond our limited faith and skeptical hearts.

3. It is the most effective way to fulfill the great commission!

Jesus commissions his true disciples to be focused on the task of making new disciples (Matthew 28:16-20). Yet recent surveys reveal, only 8% of regular church attendees believe that sharing their faith is “very important.” Meaning that 92% believe it is not relevant. This is why only 3 out of 4 Christians (74%) seldom have a “spiritual conversation” with anyone.[1]

There is a natural entropy towards outreach that happens when a new church gets older. Surveys reveal those churches older than 10 years take 89 attendees to reach one person for Christ. Even in relatively young churches, those 3 to 10 years old, it takes 7 attendees to reach one person for Christ. And new churches from 0 to 3 years old only take 3 attendees to reach one person for Christ.

Even though evangelism is at an all-time low in churches, church Planting is still the most effective means of seeing the gospel advanced around the world.

Why are new churches more effective at evangelism than older churches? It’s in one word: survival. If a new church is not focused on reach new people with the gospel, that church will not be around very long. Once in a group of pastors, I asked them how many would lose their jobs if they did not reach one person with the gospel this year. None of them said yes. They knew they would not lose their jobs as long as they were caring for their members. In a church plant, evangelism = survival.

4. Someone started your church!

Yes, if you are meeting and gathering with other believers today, this means that God implanted a vision for a new church in your community in the heart of a leader who saw the need, embraced the opportunity, and made the sacrifices to see your church started. This was 160, 130, 100, 50, or 20 years ago for some of our churches. Do you know the name of the church planter who started your church? It is incredible how often; we forget to remember the pioneers who made the very existence of our churches possible.

On Sunday, I hope you will take the time to remember the pioneers who started your church. For today you are enjoying the blessings of someone else’s labors and sacrifices. Scripture teaches us to: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7)

The next time someone asks you, “Why church planting is such a big deal?” I hope you will use 1, 2 or all 4 of these simple yet profound reasons.

[1] Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age, Barna Group, 2018

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